Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Taheri Stand By His Story

By, er, denying what he originally said. "Jumped the gun"? Oh my.

I think he, and those who still seem ready to defend his article, would do well to listen to the advice of Adloyada: When you're in a hole, stop digging

The only question now is whether you believe that Taheri's membership of Benador Associates, a PR firm with undeniably strong connections to various neo-conservatives, has a bearing on his false allegations. Obviously, I do. Amir Taheri is a neo-conservative stooge who got found out.

I do doubt that Taheri made this story up entirely. There will be a tiny element of truth behind the exaggerated nonsense Taheri wrote. You can be certain that there are those in Iran who would like to badge non-Muslims so they can avoid accidentally touching them. I can't imagine that's a surprise to anyone who knows anything about Iran.

Taheri's attempted to sell the idea that this had become law though. That was newsworthy. And it was also untrue. This is a standard practice in black propaganda campaigns. A small kernel of truth is manipulated into the desired form before being quietly released to the public. The key message is embedded in the story (in this case the "Iran is the new Nazi Germany" meme) rather than being overplayed. This works because easily predictable "useful idiots" will then pick out the key message and amplify and exaggerate it further. The propagandists then have very little to do except sit back and watch their meme spread.

In this case, it hasn't worked very well. The strings are showing. This is good.

I know some people believe that this is some sort of conspiracy theory nonsense. As someone who's studied International Relations, I have to say that I think this is naive. The CIA, to take one example, have used black propaganda against America's "enemies" any number of times since WWII. This sort of thing really does go on; foreign policy is a nasty business. Robin Cook's attempt to bring an "ethical dimension" to UK foreign policy was laudable but if he'd suceeded we'd have been very much in the minority.

The question as to whether President Bush has already decided on military action is still open. That leading neo-conservative are advocating the same isn't. That they'd resort to underhand measures like these isn't some outlandish conspiracy theory; it is, sadly, how things work all to often.

One final thing and this is actually is a spot of highly dubious speculation. There's been a lot of talk about Jessie MacBeth on the interwebs. In this case, it looks very much as if he's a fake and the right-wingers have been gleefully mocking the "leftists" and "Commies" for ever believing his claims. Judging by the dates of the comments on the video, it was posted sometime on Sunday the 21st of May.

Taheri's article was published on Friday 19th. People almost immediately pointed out that it was false, highlighed the neo-con connection, and warned that this was an obvious attempt to bolster support for military action against Iran. This was a major embarrasment in wingnut world and probably did some damage to their credibility.

What they really needed was some sort of distraction. Ideally, this distraction would include painting their political opponents in a bad light to try to even the score. If these opponents could be lured into making a similar blunder which could then be used against them, they'd be laughing.

Perhaps there's no connection. I'm just saying it's an interesting series of events. (I've genuinely no idea who on earth Jessie Wallace is.)

One final final thing. It's hard to write about neo-conservatism without implying that you believe it's some sort of evil monolythic S.P.E.C.T.R.E type organisation . It isn't. It's a group of people with shared and similar views working together to achieve certain goals. That's fair enough. I've got no problem with that. The problem is that their methods are often dishonest and their views on foreign policy are frequently moronic, simplistic and unworkable. That, I have a problem with.

Edit - corrected errant link.

Tags: , , ,

No comments: